What's Fair In Taxes?
Robert Kuttner's column "Dueling tax plans: One adds up, the other doesn't" (Economic Viewpoint, May 15) is formulated on two premises. The first is that lowering the tax rates will cause lower tax revenues. The second is that there should be tax equity; that is, those who earn more money should pay more in taxes.
In the first case, Kuttner was proved wrong during the Reagan era. When taxes were lowered, tax revenues went up. When Reagan compromised with Congress and taxes were raised, tax revenues went down again. Kuttner would probably argue that the deficit went up during Reagan's watch, but what he would probably fail to mention is that Congress went hog-wild with pork-barrel spending.
As for equity taxation, why don't we go all the way and make the wealthy pay higher prices, too? We could make them pay $1.50 for a can of Pepsi or $5.00 for a Big Mac. After all, it would only be equitable.
Eden Prairie, Minn.
There is a real inequity in the idea of a flat tax on consumption. Most people who have retired do not save any more. Accordingly, a consumption tax would fall most heavily on older Americans. Such a tax is clearly unfair to retired persons and should either not be considered or should provide reduced or eliminated taxes for retired persons.
Idaho Falls, Idaho